GREY MUTTER lance fredericks At least you’re not a Melvyn
MELVYN was built funny and was not known for his athleticism; and, as a result, he was always at the receiving end of ridicule.
Melvyn had two left feet, gangly legs and five thumbs on each hand; he also had an oversized head and a neck that seemed too thin to support that massive coconut.
Yes, Melvyn was a real klutz. Now, for the record, Melvyn is not an actual person from my history, but he is a composite of all the nonathletic types who find themselves on playgrounds every day, missing kicks, dropping balls lobbed at them and falling down while running in a straight line on a level surface … Melvyns can be really funny to observe.
The awesome thing about a Melvyn though is that you could always compare yourself to him. “Guys, I know that I suck at cricket, but let me play … at least I’m not as bad as Melvyn!”
However, such clumsy sorts are sometimes hard to find and people need to laugh at klutzes; therefore there is a new trend – prank videos. With the right prank anyone and everyone can be turned into a Melvyn for our viewing pleasure. There are hundreds, if not thousands of videos online of people doing terribly cruel things to others, all in the name of a “good prank”.
And the masses laugh along, thereby encouraging the cruelty.
One particularly disturbing prank video has a “beekeeper” seemingly dropping his hives in an elevator and then while a soundtrack of angry bees plays, the beekeeper pricks the terrified victims – who have covered their eyes in fear – with a needle. That’s not funny – that’s diabolical!
Apparently South African sports fans didn’t need prank videos to make them laugh this past weekend, because the Boks and Bafana provided all the Melvyns that fans could handle. The young men and coaches upon whom so much hope and good energy rested on Friday were disgraced “Melvyns” by Sunday. It’s good when we have a Melvyn to point a finger at … it somehow makes us feel superior.
“At least we haven’t failed like they have,” we say, patting ourselves on the back. After all, it always feels so good to highlight others’ failings, seeing as we have no failings of our own.
When a government is criticised for neglecting the citizens under its care, it deflects attention to the Melvyns in the previous oppressive regime. When someone is found to have had fingers in the cookie jar, the response is: “But those Melvyns stole much more than I did!”
When we are negligent on the roads and drive carelessly, we are quick to remind our critics that at least we are not taxi-driving Melvyns.
The value of a Melvyn cannot be overestimated.
We even have it in families … I remember being found out for doing something naughty, and I was quick to point to my Melvyn brother and sister and what THEY did. It’s an amazingly effective ploy, trust me.
There are even, I have heard through the grapevine, cases of spouses making Melvyns out of each other. A young wife will go to her girlfriends to “skinner” about her Melvyn-hubby, and the hubby will be at the club “discussing” his Melvynwife’s odd quirks. Which may not be the healthiest thing to do.
In the late 19th century Ellen White penned these sobering words: “The heart of his wife should be the grave for the faults of the husband, and the heart of the husband the grave for his wife’s faults. Never should either party indulge in a joke at the expense of the other’s feelings.
“Never should either the husband or wife in sport or in any other manner complain of each other to others, for frequently indulging in this foolish and what may seem perfectly harmless joking will end in trial with each other and perhaps estrangement.”
Maybe we should embrace the possibility that we’re all just Melvyns trying to play the game of life to the best of our ability.